When you're planning to live or move to another country for work, one of the things you need to consider is the cost of living. Can you survive or live the lifestyle you want with the salary offered to you?
Whether you're already living or still deciding to move to Qatar, we want to help you understand the relative costs of products and services that you would need to spend on/purchase while residing in the country.
Here's an overview of the most important expenses you need to take into account while living and working in Qatar - costs of rent, transportation, food, education, healthcare, and utilities.
As of 2021, Doha is ranked 288th worldwide in the Numbeo Cost of Living Index by City 2021 and 16th in Asia.
Note: All costs are in Qatari Riyals and prices are as of June 2021.
If you're not provided accommodation by your employer, then rent or accommodation cost is one of your biggest and most important expenses while living in Qatar.
There are plenty of housing options, from studio flats to villas, depending on your budget and preferred location, especially in Doha. Expect higher rent in newer areas like The Pearl Qatar, Lusail City, and Msheireb Downtown Doha.
Based on Property Finder listings, you can rent an unfurnished studio apartment in Doha for as low as QR 1,400 and an unfurnished three-bedroom apartment at QR 4,000. The lowest rate for an unfurnished studio at The Pearl costs QR 5,000 per month to rent, while you can find a three-bedroom apartment for more than QR 10,000 per month, based on the current listings on the Property Finder website.
Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation "KAHRAMAA" is the sole transmission and distribution system owner and operator (TDSOO) for electricity and water in Qatar. According to Kahramaa, these are the electricity and water tariff rates for residential villa and flat:
|( 1 - 2000 )||0.11|
|( 2001 - 4000 )||0.13|
|( 4001 - 15000 )||0.18|
|( 15001 - 9999999999 )||0.26|
|( 1 - 20 )||5.5|
|( 21 - 250 )||7|
|( 251 - 9999999999 )||10|
Provided by WOQOD, gas cylinders are commonly used in residential places aside from Residential LPG. They're available in two refill sizes - 6 kg and 12 kg. Refill for the 12 kg costs QR 15. Above are the rates for the SHAFAF cylinders with or without gas, as well as the cost of LPG accessories like hose and regulators.
READ MORE: Here's how to pay KAHRAMAA bills in Qatar!
There are only 2 telecom providers in Qatar - Ooredoo and Vodafone. Mobile users can choose between prepaid and postpaid plans. You can recharge your prepaid SIM for as little as QR 5. Both companies have a range of postpaid plans with data, calls, and SMS services that you can choose from depending on your needs.
Vodafone's all-new Unlimited 5G plans start at QR 300/month while U-Plans start at QR 105/month. Ooredoo's Mobile plans include Shahry 5G (starts at QR 120), Qatarna 5G (starts at QR 400), and 5G Data SIM (QR 110).
For home internet, Vodafone's GigaHome ranges from QR 300 to QR 450 per month, with speeds ranging from up to 20 Mbps to 500 Mbps. Ooredoo ONE Plan ranges from QR 330 to QR 1,500 with speeds ranging from 50 Mbps to 1 Gbps. Other fees may apply (router, installation, etc).
Both companies offer online exclusive offers for home internet and mobile plans.
READ MORE: The truth about internet speeds in Qatar
The general public can take a bus or Doha Metro aside from the taxi options. Bus rides start from QR 2.50 for short trips while a single Metro ride in the Standard class costs QR 2. Metrolink feeder buses are free of charge.
Karwa smartcards are needed to ride a Karwa public bus. It costs from QR 10 (Limited- good for 2 journeys) to QR 30 (Classic- rechargeable). The Standard Doha Metro travel card costs QR 10 without travel credit.
Karwa taxi, Uber, and Careem are some of the most popular taxis and ride-hailing apps. Karwa taxi rates within Doha start at QR 4 and QR 1.6 per km while outside Doha the rates are QR 1.90 per km (also applicable to the nighttime fare). The minimum taxi fare trip starts at QR 10 (including the first 5 km)
The minimum ride fare for UberX and CareemGO is QR 8. The final fare will vary depending on the distance, peak hour, and traffic along the way.
|Karwa Bus||Starts at QR 2.50|
|Doha Metro||QR 2.00|
|Karwa Taxi||Starts at QR 10|
|Uber/Careem||Starts at QR 8|
Driving is also one of the preferred modes of transport. If you don't have a driving license you could enroll in a driving school in Qatar. The fees range from QR 3,250 to QR 3,850 for a full course for a light vehicle.
According to Hukoomi, the driving license fee for non-Qataris is QR 250 (valid for 5 years) and QR 500 for Qataris (valid for 10 years). Additional fees apply for driving and vision tests.
Fuel prices in 2021 have been on an upward trend, with the prices increasing since January. As of June 2021, the 91 Premium Petrol is at QR 1.85, the 95 Super Petrol at QR 1.90, and Diesel is at QR 1.75.
You can find both local and imported food products in groceries, supermarkets, and wholesale markets in Qatar. You can find the Daily Prices of Commodities (fruits, vegetables, fish) and comparison of food and non-food consumer goods at the website of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
Here are common grocery items: (prices may vary according to brand and shop)
|QFM Flour No.1||QR 4.5 (1 kg)|
|Qatari tomato||QR 3/kg|
|Qatari cucumber||QR 3.5/kg|
|Syrian potato||QR 2/kg|
|Filipino banana||QR 5/kg|
|American red apple||QR 6/kg|
|Qatar Sheri (fish)||QR 9 - 18/kg|
|Qatar Hamour (fish)||QR 38/kg|
|Fresh milk||QR 7.25/1 Liter|
|White bread||QR 5|
|Basmati rice||QR 14.75 (Tilda 1 kg)|
|Whole fresh chicken||starts at QR 14.75|
|Brazilian beef topside (fresh)||QR 9.75 (300g)|
|Water (1.5L)||QR 1.25|
|Eggs (Large)||QR 5.50 (6 pcs)|
|Sunflower Oil||QR 10.50 (1 Liter)|
Depending on your budget, you can take your pick from fast-food restaurants to 5-star hotel restaurants. A meal for one at KFC ranges from QR 15 to QR 34 while a meal for two can range from QR 20 (local cafeteria) to QR 1,200 (5-star hotel).
Because of restrictions due to the pandemic, dine-in at restaurants and cafes were not allowed for a period of time in 2020 and 2021. Food businesses relied on food delivery apps which usually charge a delivery fee ranging from QR 0 to QR 10.
Qatar offers free or subsidized public healthcare and you can access that by applying for a Health Card. It costs QR 50 for Qatari nationals, GCC nationals, and domestic workers and costs QR 100 for expats and their children. This must be paid using a credit card and renewed yearly. You can use this health card in any Hamad Medical Corporation hospital or Primary Health Care Corporation health center.
Expats can also choose to avail of private health insurance, which is usually covered by the employer. Check with your HR and insurance provider regarding the coverage of your plan, which may or may not include consultation fees. If you don't have private healthcare insurance, consultation at private healthcare facilities could range from QR 50 to QR 400 for a General Practitioner Doctor.
COVID-19 vaccine is free for all citizens and residents (with valid QID and green Ehteraz) in Qatar. The Ministry of Public Health also capped PCR tests for travel in private health care facilities at QR 300.
Regarding those who are staying in Qatar on a visit visa, we called the 16000 (COVID-19 hotline) and according to the customer service representative, if you have been staying in Qatar for 3 months, you can register to get the COVID-19 vaccine through the National Authentication System (Tawtheeq). You will need to bring your passport and visa during your COVID-19 vaccine appointment.
If you have a family living with you in Qatar, you will spend a significant chunk of your money on your children's education especially if you aren't provided with an allowance/benefit to offset school fees. Qatar has a free public education system, although it is only for citizens.
The truth is that educational prices vary widely, and the school your child attends will be determined by your specific circumstances. Private schooling in Qatar is generally of high quality, but it may be costly, so if you're on a budget, it's a good idea to look around.
Fees vary and are also relative to your child’s level of educational attainment or school grades. Aside from tuition fees, there are other fees to consider such as application fees, uniform fees, and more. There are also different schools for different nationalities, including Pakistani, Indian, and Filipino schools to name a few, and these can very often prove to be less expensive.
For example, annual tuition fees in Indian schools: Kindergarten fees can range from QR 3,700 to QR 13,000 while Grade 12 ranges from over QR 7,000 to QR 18,000.
With schools adopting the blended learning program due to the pandemic, parents have had to shell out money to provide gadgets such as tablets, laptops, or personal computers for their children to be able to adapt to online learning.
Compared to 2020, not much has changed on accommodation costs, healthcare, food and drinks, education, and public transportation.
In utilities, prices of electricity, water, and gas have remained the same. However, due to the introduction of 5G in Qatar, we have seen a slight increase in telecommunications packages.
Clothing costs haven't changed since 2020. Online shopping also became popular in Qatar with more shops offering their own online shopping option due to the restrictions. There are still frequent sales and promotions that you can take advantage of in order to cut costs, both in-store and online.
In conclusion, Qatar offers a variety of services and products depending on one's budget and needs, thus, your expenses will vary depending on your lifestyle. While it isn't one of the cheapest countries to live in, there's still a lot of perks living in one of the wealthiest countries in the world such as no income tax, low crime rate, and world-class healthcare and education.
Did this article help you learn more about the cost of living in Qatar? And, if you're a Qatar resident, how much are your living costs? Please share your findings with us so that we can compare and don't forget to like and share this article!
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